Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan and Chairman of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee Brendan Smith has expressed his frustration that 45 years after the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, the surviving victims and the families of those who died in the atrocity are still no nearer to getting justice.
Deputy Smith said, “Anniversaries bring back a lot of painful memories for people who lived through these dreadful attacks and for those who lost loved ones in the bombings. Unfortunately, not only were their lives irrevocably changed, they are still having to fight for justice.
“I am deeply disappointed with the lack of engagement from the British government in establishing the truth of what happened on that dark day. I, and many of my party colleagues, have raised the issue time and time again in the Dáil, but we have been stonewalled on every occasion. Unanimous Dáil motions were passed in 2008, 2011 and 2016 calling on the British government to release the files relating to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, but we are still waiting.
“I raised the issue directly with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley MP, and emphasised the importance of making these documents public.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and I will continue to work to secure truth and justice for them, so that the perpetrators of these horrific attacks are brought to justice”, concluded Deputy Smith.
Fianna Fáil MEP Candidate for Midlands-North-West Brendan Smith TD says a co-ordinated gorse fire response plan is needed in the event of further outbreaks this week.
Deputy Smith made the comments after a high risk fire warning was issued this week as warm weather is forecast in the North West this week.
“Only last month we saw devastating scenes as members of the public and community groups tackled the fires, which broke out in the Rosses over the Easter bank holiday weekend. There was no co-ordination at government level and it took seven hours for an Aer Corps helicopter to be mobilised to the area”, said Deputy Smith.
“The lack of co-ordinated intervention at government level has raised serious concerns about resources at local and national level, and given the warning this week, the situation is particularly worrying.
“Fine Gael are attempting to pass the buck on this issue. When asked about the delay in mobilising the Aer Corps, Minister Paul Kehoe first claimed that responsibility for fire emergencies lies with the local authority. Because of the extensive nature of these fires, additional supports were necessary and unfortunately it took seven hours for them to arrive.
“Let me be clear, the Air Corps support, when it did arrive, brought the situation under control and their presence limited the amount of damage done. However, I believe better protocols need to be put in place to ensure a faster response and more co-ordinated approach. Coming into the summer months, and with a warning already issued, a new plan must be devised”, concluded Deputy Smith.
Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan and European Parliament candidate for Midlands-North-West Brendan Smith has called on the government to intervene to avert five days of strike action by CE supervisors. Strikes are to begin next week.
Deputy Smith explained, “Throughout every town and village across the country CE Supervisors and CE schemes deliver for our communities. I have met with local groups across the Midlands-North-West and CE Supervisors feel let down by Fine Gael. They are now being forced to engage in five days of strike action due to Fine Gael’s failure to engage with them and act on a 2008 Labour Court recommendation regarding an entitlement to an occupational pension.
“It has been a year since a Fianna Fáil motion my Party colleagues and I worked to pass in the Dáil called on the government to engage with CE Supervisors and to find a satisfactory pathway to address the pension issue for the 1,250 CE Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors based on the 2008 Labour Court Recommendation.
“Fine Gael has been in government for eight years and has neglected to respect CE Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors.
“If this strike action goes ahead it will cause serious disruption for thousands of people in the Midlands-North-West who depend on the services carried out under CE schemes.
“The Ministers for Social Protection and Finance must come together and meet with representatives of the CE Supervisors. They deserve respect and to be heard. The government must not keep ignoring them,” concluded Deputy Smith.
Fianna Fail TD for Cavan-Monaghan and European Parliament Candidate for Midlands-North-West Brendan Smith has marked Europe Day by calling on the government to acknowledge its full importance by recognising the day annually.
The 9th of May is observed as Europe Day as it marks the presentation of the Schuman Declaration which ultimately led to the European Economic Community and then, the European Union.
Deputy Smith said, “I have had the privilege of travelling around the Midlands-North-West over the past number of months to meet with constituents and hear their views on Europe. The overriding opinion of Europe is a positive one.
“The positive results of European Union membership are tangible in every town and village across our island. A recent poll reveals 92% of us firmly believe we should remain in Europe and work closely with its institutions. At a time of major challenges for the EU we have to ensure that a reformed Europe works better for Ireland and all countries.
“There are estimates that up to a third of the new European Parliament will be anti-Europe. It is vital we send pro-European voices to Brussels and not those who create fear or division in our communities.
“I am calling on the government to recognise Europe Day and create a programme for this yearly event to inform younger generations and celebrate our membership of this most important union,” concluded Deputy Smith.
Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan and European Parliament candidate for Midlands-North-West Brendan Smith has called on the government to take positive action to support farming communities across the Midlands-North-West.
Deputy Smith explained, “The beef sector and suckler farmers are at their wits end. I have been across the region and one of the main concerns raised by members of the farming community is their future. They feel abandoned by government with totally inadequate supports being provided to the community.
“Working with our Agriculture spokesperson, Charlie McConalogue TD, we passed a private members’ motion with 14 policy actions in the Dáil last month to highlight the urgent actions needed to safeguard the livelihoods of farmers in the beef sector. This included immediately requesting Brexit mitigation funding for farmers, specifically exceptional and market disturbance aid for beef and other vulnerable sectors under CAP’s Common Market Organisation Regulation.
“Beef farmers have incurred severe losses since last Autumn and require direct EU and State assistance now. The IFA has estimated that beef farmers have already incurred price losses approaching over €100 million as the impact of Brexit has hit.
“The final say on the next round of CAP will be decided by the next European Parliament. We are committed to the reform of CAP and provision of adequate funding for our farmers.
“The government cannot continue to ignore farmers across the country. They are crying out for supports and they must be provided with such supports,” concluded Deputy Brendan Smith.
It is criminal for anybody to indiscriminately dump 600 tonnes of waste in the beautiful forest land of Drumgill in Kingscourt on the Meath Cavan border.
I am disgusted that this reckless crime could take place. This will cost hundreds of thousands of euro to clean up. Money that could have been put to good use by Coillte. The costs are not solely financial. The impact of this waste on the forest and the overall climate cannot be underestimated.
I urge An Garda Síochana to work with Coillte and the two County Councils to find out who committed this crime and to bring them to justice. I implore the Government to help Coillte and these local authorities to meet the costs of the clean-up, so that this idyllic part of the country is returned to its former beauty.
Broadband is urgently needed in rural Ireland. MEP Candidate Brendan Smith T.D.
Day in, day out canvassing has strengthened my commitment to fight for EU assistance in bringing quality broadband to rural Ireland who have been starved of this service.
One issue raised by all sectors of society across Midlands-North-West is access to broadband.
Farmers, families, businesses highlighted to me the need for this essential infrastructure. Indeed, students, including those studying for their Junior and Leaving Certificate exams said it was wrong that they should be without broadband.
If elected as the MEP for this constituency I will seek immediate assistance from the EU to meet the cost and of providing proper access to quality Broadband. The lack of access to Broadband in Leitrim and other rural areas is causing critical problems. It is impossible to set up companies and create sustainable jobs as Broadband is an essential infrastructure. Something must be done now.
We need a fund, similar to the Social Fund that supported strategic infrastructure work, to be carried out in Ireland some years ago. By providing this strategic infrastructure fund to help Ireland sort out the Broadband problem, the EU will also be contributing to generating sustainable jobs throughout the country and improving access for those in rural areas to vital health and safety services.
I thank the people I met in Leitrim for their courtesy and generosity of time during the canvass this week.
I am committed to promoting the rights of persons with disabilities in the EU Parliament and to fight for the necessary supports to enable them to live as equal citizens.
As the Fianna Fáil EU Parliament elections candidate in the Midlands/North-West constituency, I see that persons with disabilities are an important and integral part of our communities at local, national and european level.
As your representative in the European Parliament, I will work to make sure that these citizens are provided with the necessary supports and resources to enable access to suitable employment and mainstream public services and supports.
I will promote and facilitate the participation of persons with disabilities in decision-making structures and make sure that EU members, including Ireland, embrace the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
As a Public Representative I have always worked with individuals, families and representative organisations to lobby for much needed additional supports for persons with disabilities. I have also highlighted over the years the need to improve education and employment opportunities as well.
– Govt. committed to Fair Deal Scheme changes in 2017 but legislation yet to progress-
Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan and European Parliament candidate for Midlands-North-West Brendan Smith has highlighted the government’s failure to bring changes to the Fair Deal scheme which would see alterations to support farming families who have a family member in the scheme.
Deputy Smith explained, “The government made grand announcements that they would amend the Fair Deal legislation to support farm families. Proposed changes would have brought in a Bill to cap farm contributions from farm assets at three years, if a family member is continuing to work on the farm.
“Despite these commitments the Heads of Bill have still not been published. The farming community across the North West and Border region remain in doubt. This delay is unacceptable and will mean that farm families across the country are losing out on the benefits of this scheme.
“This has been a bug-bear for farming families for years, and these changes are desperately needed to make the scheme fairer and to ensure that older farmers can access the care they need.
“Farmers spending a considerable amount of time in a nursing home could lose significant portions of their farm due to the 7.5% contribution charge on assets. This is currently applied on a yearly basis with no upper limit in place.
“The government must cap this at three years to support farmers and their families. It should be prioritised by government. The farming community is struggling as it is. We should be providing every support possible however the government do not appear to appreciate the severity of this situation on a daily basis for families,” concluded Deputy Smith.